Meet Me in St. Louis

My recent visit to St.Louis was surprisingly more interesting than I had thought it would be. After we enjoyed a family function, Alan & I had 2 1/2 days to explore St. Louis. Here are some photos & comments on the four places we visited. St. Louis is definitely worth checking out!

Pond in front of The Jewel Box in Forest Park. See Jewel Box Internet photo below.

The first place we visited was Forest Park, a huge expanse of land that had building from the 1904 World’s Fair. I Googled Forest Park and here is some information:

Forest Park is one of St. Louis’ most treasured resources. Located in the heart of the city, it is the heart of our city. Owned and operated by the City of St. Louis, Forest Park is one of 105 city parks under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry. Forest Park, officially opened to the public on June 24, 1876, is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. At 1,293 acres, it is approximately 500 acres larger than Central Park in New York. In 1904, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, The St. Louis World’s Fair, drew more than 20 million visitors from around the world to Forest Park. Today it attracts more than 12 million visitors a year.

We went to the zoo, part of the park and very “park-like” with animals, lakes, recreations and open space. I used to not like the idea of zoos, but I read in National Geographic Magazine that they may be the safest place for endangered species. And the animals had lots of space to roam. Here are a few animal snapshots:

P.S. There is no entrance fee at the park. If you can find a parking spot on the street, you can enjoy the park for nothing! There is a parking lot that costs $15, but if you come with 3 or 4 people, the cost is very little. Makes this lovely place a great adventure for families on a tight budget.

In this same vast park were some interesting buildings. This one (below) is a building from the 1904 World’s Fair, where the ice cream cone was first introduced. (The idea of wrapping a waffle around a scoop of ice cream was a new concept.)

Nearby was a beautiful building called The Jewel Box, which is a display greenhouse. Unfortunately, this was a Sunday and the hours were shorter. We arrived about 1/2 hour too late. Here is  a photo from the Internet:

The Jewel Box has been renovated and is once again the “jewel” of the park. If you Google Forest Park in St. Louis, you will read all the information you need to visit it if you go to St. Louis. If we go again, I would definitely want to visit the Jewel Box.

The day after the park visit, we went to the botanical gardens, another “jewel” in St. Louis’ Crown. The official name is Missouri Botanical Garden, situated not too far from Forest Park. While I love Longwood Gardens here in PA, this place was truly lovely. We visited several different gardens inside, including the Japanese Garden, the Pincushion Garden (small, round plots of tiny plants), the Herb Garden, and the Rose garden, although the roses were finished blooming. We did not see all of it, but enough to know we need to go again to see the rest.

Here is what the garden’s website says:

Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is the nation’s oldest botanical garden in continuous operation and a National Historic Landmark.

The Garden is a center for botanical research and science education, as well as an oasis in the city of St. Louis. The Garden offers 79 acres of beautiful horticultural display, including a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden, Henry Shaw’s original 1850 estate home, and one of the world’s largest collections of rare and endangered orchids.

For over 154 years, the Garden has been an oasis in the city, a place of beauty and family fun—and also a center for education, science, and conservation.

Here I am holding the hand of the philanthropist Henry Shaw, who founded the gardens.

Here I am (lower right hand corner) at one of the entrances to the Rose Garden. The yellow glass is   a glass sculpture by my favorite glass artist, Dale Chihuly from Seattle. (It could also be from one or more of his students, since Chihuly no longer makes the structures, but supervises others.)

This is a photo of one of several pincushion gardens, about 6 feet across, scattered on the lawn near Mr. Shaw’s statue. The plants are mostly tiny succulents that grow slowly. There are several in the area that can be seen from the tower below.

This Victorian Tower overlooks the pincushion and herbal gardens and also a maze for children (and adults) to go through.

The two photos below are from the same place: the dome is a large greenhouse that houses many plants. The picture on the right is a mini-garden inside the dome:


The last place we visited was The Arch, which is the symbol for St. Louis. First we took a ride on the Mississippi on a riverboat and I took several pictures of the arch, which faces the river. I took one from the right, the middle and the left, but the one from the middle was best:

The Famous St. Louis Arch

Underneath the arch (underground) is a center with a museum, an old-fashioned general store, and a movie on how the arch was erected. You could also take a ride up into the arch itself, but I was gun-shy. The museum houses the history Lewis and Clarks’s historic journey to the West Coast of the USA, which started in St. Louis.

I was really impressed with the beauty of The Arch, made of stainless steel and rising gracefully to the sky. Here is a photo of me at the base of this structure. It is slim and curved and tall and very beautiful from any angle (The Arch, not me!):

We did go into Illinois, right over the border, to see the approximate place where Lewis & Clark’s entourage wintered. It was closed on Mondays & Tuesdays, and this was a Tuesday, so I just took photos of the reproduction of  living quarters, the smaller outer buildings, and a picture of the blueprint for the main building where my husband Alan is standing:



One last picture—The giraffes at the zoo were indoors because their outside grazing area was under maintenance, so I have no pictures of giraffes in their reproduced habitat.  Instead, I offer this photo of me on the Carousel inside the zoo, where I chose to ride the giraffe, of course, my favorite animal in the wild!

Safe & Happy Travels!

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